The 1-2-3 Guide to Price List Management with Salesforce

In 2021, global supply-chain disruptions combined with inflation rates not seen in more than 30 years to create a perfect storm of complexity for price list management and competitive pricing strategies. From December 2020 to December 2021, the U.S. consumer price index rose to 7% across the board, marking the largest single-year increase since 1981. At the same time, the annual inflation in the U.S. hit 6.2% in the third quarter for the first time since the 1990s.

With inflation, supply-chain problems, and high energy and raw materials costs set to remain high for another 12 months, companies face an ongoing challenge in maintaining long-term profitability without driving away customer bases. Most established businesses can usually afford to take on short-term profitability losses to pace pricing hikes behind rapid inflation or aberrant fluctuations in production costs. Nevertheless, the longer such periods drag on, the more rising demand tends to mitigate the risk of passing costs on to consumers.

In this period of complex, unpredictable change, many businesses are struggling to deliver effective pricing strategies that preserve both profitability and customer satisfaction. In this guide, you’ll learn the fundamentals of price list management with standard and custom price books in Salesforce.

Understanding Price List Management

A price list is a comprehensive list of business products and services matched with their standard prices. The standard price for any product or service refers to the set price apart from any conditions or qualifications. Production costs and pricing strategy determine standard prices.

Many different internal and external factors influence the pricing strategies businesses choose.


  • Product Range
  • Revenue Goals
  • Marketing Objectives
  • Target Audience
  • Brand Identity


  • Market Demand
  • Production and Material Costs
  • Competition Pricing
  • Inflation
  • Supply-Chain Stability

While these factors determine a business’ standard price list, prices at the point of sale are often dynamic and differ from standard lists according to who the customer is, where they are located, and what other products or services they are buying.

Price list management is a two-step process. The first step consists of setting an effective pricing strategy to determine your standard price list and adjusting it according to external economic conditions. The second involves delivering dynamic custom pricing to sales teams at the point of sale. 

4 Price List Management Strategies

While you can find dozens of pricing strategy variations in introductory economics literature, four fundamental strategies undergird the rest.

  1. Premium or Profit Pricing

In premium pricing, profit alone sets prices. Businesses can configure premium pricing to maximize either profit per unit of sale or the total number of sales. The ability to set premium prices effectively usually depends on a preexisting competitive advantage in the market. Luxury brands typically set premium prices.

  1. Competition or Economy Pricing 

In competition pricing, businesses set prices in the range of competitors to target their market share. While competition pricing often involves undercutting major competitors, prices equal to or above the competition may also serve this function. Businesses that can scale production flexibly according to consumer demand often benefit from competition pricing.

  1. Penetration Pricing

Penetration pricing is a temporary strategy to gain market share quickly. Businesses often choose penetration pricing as part of promotions or marketing campaigns for new product launches. Setting prices in the penetration range typically incurs anticipated losses for a planned time period followed by an adjustment to other pricing standards.

  1. Skimming Pricing 

In niche markets with minimal competition or conditions of unusually high demand, businesses may choose to set prices above long-term sustainable margins. Like penetration pricing, skimming strategies are temporary and need to be adjusted according to changes in demand and competition.

Price List Management in Salesforce with Standard and Custom Price Books

In Salesforce, sales teams use product records to create quotes and deliver pricing information to customers. Product records include four categories of information.

  • Name
  • Code
  • Description
  • Status (Active or Inactive)

When you create product records in Salesforce Classic and Lightning Experience, Salesforce prompts a standard price book entry.

Price book tab in Salesforce.

Your standard price book will reflect your current enterprise-level prices as dictated by external conditions and pricing strategy. Nevertheless, your sales teams need real-time access to dynamic custom pricing that takes into account additional factors. These may include:

  • Region: Prices may vary by country or geographic subregion.
  • Sector: Businesses may offer different price structures to for- and non-profit buyers.
  • Discounts: Pricing for individual products or services should reflect any bundle deals your company offers.

In Salesforce, you can create custom price books in three steps.

  1. Add Picklists to a Standard Price Book

In the case of regional pricing, you would select the Fields and Relationships tab for the standard price book and add a new Picklist with a Field Label of Region. 

Adding a Picklist to a standard price book.

  1. Create New Price Books

Once you saved these changes, you can create individual custom price books in the Sales Navigation Bar. Select New and name the price book according to the distinction you need to create such as enterprise or nonprofit. 

  1. Add Products and Regions

Select your newly added price book and assign the Region field. Then open Price Book Entries in the Related tab and click Add Products. Products from your standard price list will appear. 

You can repeat these steps as needed to customize your price books further to reflect your dynamic pricing needs.

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